What Do Historians Call the Period Between Ancient and Modern Times?

Have you ever wondered what historians call the period between Ancient and Modern times? This transitional period in history marks a significant shift in human civilization and is known by various names.

The Dark Ages

One of the most common terms used to describe this period is the Dark Ages. It refers to the time between the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 CE and the beginning of the Renaissance in Europe around 1400 CE. This era is often associated with a lack of cultural, scientific, and social progress.

Many historians argue that this term is misleading as it implies a complete absence of light or progress during this time. While there were certainly setbacks and challenges, there were also important developments in fields like art, literature, and religion.

The Middle Ages

Another term used to describe this period is the Middle Ages. It covers roughly the same time period as the Dark Ages but has a more neutral connotation. The term “medieval” comes from Latin roots meaning “middle” and “age,” emphasizing that it falls between two distinct eras.

During this time, European society was characterized by feudalism, where land ownership was tied to social status, and Christianity was a dominant cultural force. The Middle Ages also saw significant advances in architecture, agriculture, medicine, and technology.

The Post-Classical Era

Another way historians refer to this period is as the Post-Classical Era. This term emphasizes that it follows directly after ancient civilizations like Greece and Rome but precedes modern times. It covers roughly 500 CE to 1500 CE and includes important events like the rise of Islam and significant advancements in trade routes across Asia.

The Early Modern Period

Finally, some historians refer to this era as Early Modern Times. This term refers specifically to Western Europe from the late 15th century until approximately halfway through the 18th century. During this time, Europe experienced significant cultural and economic changes, including the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and the beginnings of global colonization.


In conclusion, historians use several different terms to refer to the period between Ancient and Modern times. While each term has its own connotations and nuances, they all point to a significant transitional period in human history that saw both setbacks and progress. By understanding these terms, we can better understand how our modern world came to be.